NEW Caecilian species record Khao Yai np

3 years 6 months ago #2449 by onflipflops
It's been a while when I found this, but did not have/ take the time to post it here.
I 'discovered' a new amphibian species in Khao Yai national park.
Back in July I was walking the 'crocodile'-trail. It started raining, but when the rain stopped I encountered a dark caecilian species which was crossing the trail in the bamboo forest near the Pa Kluay Mai waterfall.
For those not familiar with Caecilians, they are snake- or worm-like amphibians that lack limbs.
They have the typical amphibian skin that clearly differs from snakes, and they have skull and bones which differs from worms.
There are a handfull species known to occur in Thailand, most of them are dark with yellow.
The one I found was all dark without any other coloration.

After showing an image to a Thai friend who is really into amphibians (at the moment he's working on a book about all Thai amphibians.) he got very excited.
Apparently this species was not known to occur in Khao Yai national park. And it was only recently discovered, it doesn't even have a species name yet. If I got it right it was first encountered in Cambodia, and later in Chantaburi. And now in Khao Yai.
End of July I encountered another specimen in the forest under a moist rotten log. The one in the image below.
Not sure when somebody will give it a name, but I presume it should be the genus lchthyophis.

Not the prettiest of all animals, haha ;) , but anyway a cool find!

New lchthyophis sp.
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3 years 6 months ago #2450 by rushenb
Interesting! Do they move like worms?

I saw something in Khao Sok almost a year ago, it looked too big and too thick to be a worm. It moved a bit like a worm, but not exactly.. It was too dark for a photo, I had a crap flash-light... I assumed it was a giant worm so I didn't spend much time to look carefully at the head. :)

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3 years 6 months ago #2451 by Paul T
Oh Flipflops, thats absolutely fantatsic ! Great photograph as well, you really get a sense of its habitat in the photograph.

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3 years 6 months ago #2457 by onflipflops
Thanks, Trekker!
The forest habitat is correct, but to get a true sense of this animal's favored habitat I should have photographed it under the ground or at least under rotten wood... Not exactly an easy task, so I decided to set this shot up.

Yes, Rushen, they are like worms, they like to dig.
There are several species in Thailand.
And there are also Blind snakes which are similar as well, though their skin is quite different, but at first glance it is easy to confuse these.
Next time take a closer look and take pictures and share them. It seems there is still a lot to discover in Thailand. My Thai friend has already found quite a few new frog species and other herps that have not been described yet.

Last night I had a chat with a herpetologist from Russia who is working on DNA analysis of herpetofauna in South-east Asia. Caecilians are one of his favorite creatures, so he was able to tell me some more about it. Though he told the world of caecilian specialists is very small which made it take a bit long to describe these new species they have been finding.
In both Cambodia and Vietnam they have found 3 new species simliar to this one, but when he looked at my images he told my specimen looked slightly different in his opinion. So DNA-analysis is neccessary to find out if it is perhaps an all new species, or 'just' one of these new species described from neighbouring countries.
If more is known about this specimen, I'll post it here.

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3 years 6 months ago #2464 by rushenb
Well, if/when I see one next time, I will treat it as a diamond and pay a bit more attention to it!

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